Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Stars Nude for a Cause

Three ethnic Chinese stars are going all nude to fight a good cause.
Annie Shizuka - better known in Taiwan as Yin Neng-ching - Hong Kong's Wu Jun-ru and China's Shui Ling have posed naked for a campaign against breast cancer. Wu is quoted by the United Daily News in Taiwan as having discovered the value of the female breast when giving birth three months ago, while Shizuka talks about the feeling of freedom and self-worth accompanying her posing for the picture. They're yet the latest examples of Asian stars daring to bare, and this time it's even more significant, because judging from the spelling of the Chinese characters printed on the picture, they will also be seen in the People's Republic of China, until now a country too conservative to allow such high-profile nudity. Applause for the ladies!

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Book on Naturism

I just visited two of the largest bookstores in Taiwan today. The new main store of the prestigious Eslite chain, and the Page One inside Taipei 101, the tallest building in the world.
There are so many books in English and Chinese about any subject you can think about, from Indonesian architecture to Sicilian food to manuals for the most obscure types of yoga or computer software you never heard of.
But are there books about naturism? Not that I've seen. Of course, I might have missed them, maybe they're hidden deep inside the sociology section, or psychology, or gender studies, or some other places where they might not belong.
So what if I want to read a book about naturism? There's the Internet, you will tell me. Just search the subject 'naturism' at one of the famous or less famous online bookstores, and you will find what you want. Unfortunately, I'm still one of those old-fashioned people who prefer browsing at the local shop, seeing what's on offer before making a choice about what you buy.
So what's the best solution for books about naturism in Taiwan? Yes, that's right: if no books about naturism are available, write one yourself.
That's exactly what I want to do. Coming forth from the idea about selling ice cream on a naturist beach which I mentioned in another posting a while ago, I would like to write about my naturist experience as the starting point for a wider debate about the practice.
My book would not be a dry, theoretical, ideological discussion, though I would also welcome such books to be published in Chinese. I want my book to be autobiographical - because that would interest more local readers, the story about the foreigner who doesn't like wearing clothes - and slightly tongue-in-cheek, not hilarious, but just enough fun to tell readers that, yes, naturism is all about fun, about finding pleasure in the right places.
I know writing a book is not simple, not in any language, and certainly not in Chinese, which is far from my native tongue. After the writing, comes the publishing, and there might be a problem in finding a publisher who is willing to take a chance on such an 'unusual' subject. Pictures should not be a problem. First of all, I don't plan this to be a picture book to gawk at. Secondly, many books for sale in Taiwan already have at least semi-nudity. I've seen travel guides to Croatia and France showing naturist resorts with real people in it, and then of course there are the books on fashion and photography, which don't shy away from the occasional bare body.
So forgive me, but off I go and think of a catchy title for my work.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Taiwan Star Goes Nude

Today's entertainment pages in the major Taiwanese newspapers had an unusual feature: the picture - shot from the back - of a locally well-known entertainer going completely nude on a beach.
Chen Chien-chou is a popular young TV host who also goes by the name of "Hei Ren" or Black Man because of his - by Taiwanese standards anyway - darkish skin color. His unusual foray into naturism happened while he was filming a TV entertainment show in Malaysia. The articles don't mention where the beach, but they say Chen was so happy he suddenly felt the need to strip and walk around the rocky beach naked. Several bystanders, including European tourists, were completely surprised, the papers say. Meanwhile, Chen has already returned to Taiwan, where today he was interviewing U.S. basketball star Kobe Bryant.
I hope his sudden urge for naturism is followed by other Asian and Taiwanese stars, which would promote our cause here for the less star-powered among us.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


The 30th congress of the International Naturist Federation is taking place over the following four days at the camping of El Portus on Spain's East Coast, near the city of Cartagena.
Representatives from countries ranging from Norway to New Zealand, and Canada to the Ukraine will be there to discuss the future of naturism, with topics like worldwide naturist friendship and the right to be naked.
Unfortunately, my absence from the meeting - as explained in previous posts - means that no representatives from Asian countries will be present. Still, the expansion of naturism around the world is continuing. South Africa, Brazil and Argentina are opening up further, and the Italian parliament is considering legislation liberalizing naturism.
While Asia is still behind, the presence of naturist ideas in this rapidly modernizing part of the world can be witnessed on Internet forums, where naturists or would-be naturists in India, China, Malaysia and Singapore exchange ideas. I am hopeful that within the next five years, we will see the start of more naturist groups here, and while in the beginning they will have to cope with the absence of beaches and sports grounds they can use, and with suspicion from the authorities, I am convinced that they will fight a winning battle too. That's the message I hope to take with me to the next INF congress, in 2008.